The 4 Worst Arguments for Teaching Cursive in Schools
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American schools are slowly phasing out cursive handwriting, which is an unambiguously good thing. Cursive is an archaic form of communication – one best left to history.

To be clear, when I talk about “cursive handwriting” I speak mostly of the Palmer Method, a simplified form of script popularized in the early 20th century, designed specifically with speed in mind (in part to better compete with typewriters).


This kind of writing is, in my humble opinion:

  • Slower than typing.
  • Harder to learn, and read, than print handwriting.
  • Ugly, when compared to more stylized scripts.

There’s literally no reason for schools to teach The Palmer Method, outside of nostalgia. I argued this back in February Cursive Writing Is Obsolete; Schools Should Teach Programming Instead [Opinion] Cursive Writing Is Obsolete; Schools Should Teach Programming Instead [Opinion] Cursive writing is an anachronism. Spending any classroom time on it is a waste because as a day-to-day skill, it is not at all practical in the modern, connected world. Read More , and some of you do not agree with me (to say the least). The initial onslaught of comments was overwhelming, and a trickle continues to come in to this day. Some of you included citations, others tracked down my personal website to make sure you got my attention.

First of all: thank you. I love that you all took the time to get back to me, so I did everything I could to get in touch with all of you. A lot of people care deeply about this, which is understandable. I’d like to add just a few more thoughts to the conversation.

Most of You Left Great Comments

Plenty of educators showed to agree with some of my premise and critique the finer points – conversations I welcomed.


Plenty of other people showed up and…well, here’s a nonrandom sample.


A few went beyond name-based punnery to make arguments – some of which I’ll concede to, with caveats.

For example:

  • There is a sense of accomplishment that comes with learning cursive. True, but I think teaching a beautiful, pre-Palmer script in art class is a better way for kids to get that feeling. Let’s stop pretending this is a practical skill.
  • Being able to read old letters from relatives is extremely valuable. True, but I think one can learn to read such things without spending hundreds of hours learning to write an obsolete script oneself.

Feel free to disagree with me on these or other reasoned points – I’d invite the conversation. But what I won’t invite is any variation of the following arguments, which in my humble opinion are complete gibberish.

1. Kids Will Be Cut off from History!

A number of people claimed that not teaching cursive cuts people off from their history. The typical comment goes like this:


Some went a little bit further, submitting speculative fiction for my consideration:


Ridiculous as this might seem, there is a certain logic here: learning to write cursive means you can also read it, meaning you can better understand documents like this:


You probably know this as the original version of the Declaration of Independence, right? Surprise: that’s not the original. This engrossed copy of the declaration was released in August of 1776, a month after the famous July 4th start of the revolution. The original document, distributed around the world, looks like this:


Yep: the original Declaration was typeset – under the direct supervision of Thomas Jefferson, in fact. Kids not taught cursive would have no trouble reading this.

This shouldn’t be surprising. The Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, over three hundred years after Gutenberg’s printing press. Phil Edwards, writing for Vox, explains this is how most early Americans read the declaration.

The initial Declaration of Independence was breaking news — and for that reason, most Americans saw a typeset version. -Phil Edwards

If you want to argue that Americans in July of 1776 were less connected to history than someone who read a cursive version later on, I don’t know what to say to you. The fact is that printed copies of America’s founding documents are widely available today, just as they were in the 1700s – in many cases before the handwritten “originals.”

I’d also add that none of these documents were written using the hideous Palmer Method, which wasn’t popularized until the early 20th century. Go ahead and dig through some old newspapers 6 Places to Read Old Newspapers and Archived News Online 6 Places to Read Old Newspapers and Archived News Online It might be old and stale, but dated news still has its uses. Does the image of a guy who keeps stacks of yellowing newspapers in his attic seem somewhat out of the ordinary? It... Read More if you want to prove me wrong – you’ll fail.

One does not need to learn cursive in order to read America’s founding documents – not in the 1700s, and certainly not now.

2. When The Apocalypse Comes, We’ll Need It!

My favorite comments revolved around what would happen if someone took out the electrical grid.


To counter:

3. Kids Need To Have a Signature!

One subject came up again and again: you need to have a signature.


This seems like a good point, but I don’t think it holds up.

  • As any clerk will tell you, most people’s signatures are entirely illegible squiggles at this point.
  • Spending hundreds of hours of classroom time on an archaic form of written communication specifically so we can continue to verify transactions seems weird, considering most signatures aren’t legible.
  • Signing documents electronically 3 Ways to Electronically Sign Documents 3 Ways to Electronically Sign Documents Paperwork doesn't have to be a chore, if it can be handled swiftly and efficiently. In the case of signing documents, it usually isn’t. It’s a hopelessly convoluted process, all for getting a single squiggly... Read More is increasingly common, and might well become the norm.
  • Printing works perfectly find for signatures, as a few comments pointed out.


4. Technology Is Destroying Something Real

A number of comments made nostalgic arguments, saying that something real is being lost in this transition. This one, left on my personal web page, represents this argument best:


I deeply respect what’s being said here, but think a key point is missed. Comments like this imply that cursive handwriting is some innate part of being human, but it isn’t. It’s an invention.

Cursive writing is a technology.

There’s nothing natural about handwriting: it’s a tool that we used for a particular period of time to communicate. Today people are using it less and less, because they’ve deemed the alternatives to be better.

In a sense that’s too bad – something is lost every time a technology is replaced. The compass meant fewer people learned how to navigate using the stars; GPS means fewer people know how to use a compass. But this doesn’t mean we should give up on the GPS, or teach everyone how to navigate by the stars. Some people will pursue this knowledge for fun, or because it’s been passed down by their family, but mandating everyone learns it just isn’t realistic.

The fact that people use cursive writing less often today is not because schools aren’t teaching it. The opposite is true: schools aren’t teaching cursive because students aren’t using the skill later in life – and mostly haven’t been for decades.

Mine isn’t the activist argument. The other side would keep something irrelevant in the school systems out of nostalgia, while that time could be used for teaching something productive.

I’m not the one who needs to leave well enough alone.

A Broader Discussion About Technology

Progress takes place over centuries, meaning something that seems like part of the natural order when you’re a kid was alien to prior generations. The Palmer Method was harshly criticized and resisted in its early days, but its speed meant it ultimately won out over better-looking scripts. One hundred years later The Palmer Method is on the way out, because the alternatives are better.

Making predictions about technology is impossible Technologies Predicted To Redeem Or Destroy Society & What They Teach Us About The Web Technologies Predicted To Redeem Or Destroy Society & What They Teach Us About The Web The Internet makes censorship impossible and will bring down corrupt regimes around the world. It will lead to an era of absolute transparency, which will inevitably lead to more equality and more justice. Disagree? Try... Read More , but so is trying to prevent an obsolete technology from sticking around. And that’s exactly what anyone trying to keep cursive handwriting on the curriculum is trying to do.

But that, of course, is my opinion. I’d love to hear yours. And, if you haven’t yet, you should really check out the comments below my previous article Cursive Writing Is Obsolete; Schools Should Teach Programming Instead [Opinion] Cursive Writing Is Obsolete; Schools Should Teach Programming Instead [Opinion] Cursive writing is an anachronism. Spending any classroom time on it is a waste because as a day-to-day skill, it is not at all practical in the modern, connected world. Read More – there are way more good points there than I could fit in this article. I’m looking forward to more great conversation, so let’s get started.

Explore more about: Education Technology, Opinion & Polls, Touch Typing.

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  1. Brian Hall
    September 28, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    I hate cursive with a passion. Now I find my self in the position of being forced to teach it as a new 3rd grade teacher. If cursive were so valuable, why is it that ALL text books are in print type. Cursive takes much longer to decipher. I'm just wishing I didn't have to take the time to teach it.

  2. william jack
    July 4, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    The most important reason to learn cursive is that people will make fun of your child if they don't know and use cursive. If you want your child to be considered "lower class" then by all means have them avoid the cursive experience.

  3. Tabitha Rivera
    January 24, 2019 at 4:14 am

    I love this debate because it is silly and yet so many people have a passion for their personal beliefs on the subject. I respect everyone's opinions and I would like to add mine and question a few others not out of disrespect but genuine curiosity based on you're argument.
    I think we should continue to learn cursive but I admit it is probably mostly nostalgia because I was taught cursive when I was younger. My question though is for those who argue that something else is better. I don't agree that just because something is better we should give up the knowledge of it all together. If that was the rule then why do we still teach/learn simple math when a calculator or computer can do it for us? Why teach how to read an analog clock if we have digital ones? Why bother learning to make change for someone if the register can do it?For that matter why teach history at all if we are making new history everyday?

    Learning anything in school these days is not what we are really teaching our children anyway right? I mean to say the things we teach in school arent what we call them anyway. We aren't teaching math we are teaching dicipline. We arent teaching Language. Arts we are teaching critical thinking. We don't teach our kids history it's really social skills they are learning. Cursive is just another subject name we were using but couldn't it also be considered focus?

  4. Levi Curtis
    September 22, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    You stated that most signatures have got to the point where they are no longer eligible. Eligibility should not matter when it comes to signatures.Signatures are used to prove that it is you who is signing what ever it may be that is being signed. Some signatures may look like chicken scratch, but that is your chicken scratch. It's unique and you are the only person in the world who writes your name that exact way. Which, in fact, helps as proof that you are signing what ever it may be that is being signed. Print is much easier to forge than a cursive signature could be.

    Also, might I add, I believe that you stated that the Palmer method does not help read old cursive. That it was entirely different. Indeed, it was different, but you can still read it. I was taught the Palmer method in 2nd grade and that is the only form of cursive that I know how to write and I can read my ancestors letters nearly without difficulty.

  5. Thomas
    September 18, 2018 at 4:25 am

    39. Male.
    Write well in cursive. Also type well. Both were mandatory in school. Both still should be. I will always use and be proud of both.

  6. Keith Rice
    July 21, 2018 at 12:11 am

    I don't understand the argument about being able to read historic documents. Why stop at cursive writing? There are historic documents written in Greek, Latin, even Hieroglyphics! As long as there is just one person that can translate these documents, its not necessary for everyone to be able to read that writing. Why not also teach them to use a slide rule or a rotary telephone?

    Children nowadays have so much more to learn about a world filled with technology. Things that older adults never had to learn. The jobs of tomorrow will require people to be experts in the internet, software, electronic communication, etc. This is what they should be learning in school to compete in a global economy.

    • Jim
      December 20, 2018 at 11:21 pm

      Yes if you want kids to have the upper hand in the job market of the future (or the present) teach them to code, teach them about web development, scripting, information security or countless other in-demand skills. I have never once graded a candidate I have interviewed based on their handwriting, it is irrelevant. After years of talk about the paper-free office we are finally almost there. My own office doesn't even have a printer, much less a closet full of paper and pens. We all take notes on laptops. This is how it is in most large companies these days.

  7. Joseph Michael Urbanas
    July 4, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    I'm a professional copywriter and I have a large pile of tablets where I have copied by hand winning sales letters and other copy. This is the single most effective technique for burning pathways in the brain and continuously improving your writing.

  8. Sally
    April 23, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    Apparently, other countries disagree with the US. They will continue to teach cursive, and our kids and adults will soon not be able to read historical documents, from the Constitution to family letters written in wartime. Vietnam.

    So what do you say if the US falls behind in basic skills, and must depend on people from Europe, Africa, and Asia in terms of researching and reading historical hand written documents. Why would you want the US to fall behind in something so basic as reading and writing skills?

    • John
      June 28, 2018 at 10:53 pm

      Aren't we already falling behind in basic skills when compared to other developed nation-states? For example, according to this article (, we aren't even in the top 20 best nations for any of the subjects tested!

      We're already falling behind, honey, and teaching cursive to children won't solve that problem. It would be better to teach them to print better, or to type faster, or to program, or anything really. Dedicate the time wasted on cursive to longer recess.

  9. Sydney
    April 5, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    I personally wish I knew how to write in cursive. For context, I'm 19. They started teaching us cursive but then switched over to typing.

  10. Nikki
    February 28, 2018 at 2:47 am

    When you get a job, usually have to take some notes. I can't print fast. Cursive is so much faster and I don't have to keep telling someone to slow down.

  11. Stella Rothe
    February 12, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    I'm 30 years old, and I'm a writer. There is a definite difference in how my brain works when I type versus when I write longhand. I use both, depending on my mood and what j hope to achieve. That being said, I write MUCH faster when I use cursive than when I print. That alone makes me infinitely grateful that I learned cursive in school (and at home).

    Beyond the speed factor, cursive is beautiful. It makes it easier to later learn calligraphy, if you ~ like me ~ enjoy longhand that much.

    As a child, I spent hours practicing my cursive, solely for my own enjoyment, and I'm so glad I did.

    Beyond that, just because a skill is old and not hip to the 21st century does not make it useless. How many kids grow up unable to sew on a button, bake simple dishes, iron, etc? Sorry, but these skills are important to have! It's opinions like your that have made the "Millennials" seem so helpless and ignorant.

    We are fostering a forgotten generation, and that's unacceptable.


  12. MarvelMom
    February 12, 2018 at 1:11 am

    I am 32 and learned cursive as a child si I speak from experince..... never used it since... never needed it since other than to sign my name. Also, it IS ok to sign your name in print on documents. Knowing cursive also never helped me read other peoples cursive unless it was neatly done, other than having an option besides print for my signiture I see no personal benifit from spending all that time in school learning it over things that could have actually helped me like how to spell better for example, sooo..... Why cant we just make this an optional course and allow the parents to decide? I have a 10 year old who is learning it now and I wish he were learning keyboarding or additional spelling words instead, you know, ... something useful! My child has made all A's on spelling test since K and now since he is having a hard time with cursive his spelling grades are B's.. ONLY because of cursive, not because he cant spell the word! Tell me what handwritting has to do with the spelling of a word? If given the chance I would have opted out for my son to learn cursive and just taught him his name ONLY in cursive, because that is the ONLY darn time he will EVER use it although even then its not required.

  13. Rob
    December 12, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    I'm 35, and learned cursive in school. I haven't needed it since. I also dispute that learning to write it grants any ability to read other people's incomprehensible squiggles - most people I know who use it can't even read their own cursive after they've forgotten what it says, never mind anyone else's. As far as I'm concerned, it cannot die out fast enough. The desire to keep it is pure mindless nostalgia, nothing else, and every other justification offered is merely a defensive contrivance.

  14. Don
    August 23, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    I'm actually intrigued by this debate and totally agree... except for the signature part. Banks still will have you physically sign a signature card. Even a home loan, while it will use electronic signatures, the final step is a notary coming to your house and collecting physical signatures. Same with a car loan (sans notary). Even my drivers license required a signature. I think if the government and financial institutions can go to biometrics or fully electronic, I'd completely agree.

    • Quintin Jones
      October 7, 2018 at 11:32 pm

      I can’t speak for everyone, but personally I’ve never had to know cursive for that. I have always signed my name in print every single time I have ever needed to sign it on anything. There has never been a single problem with that.

    • Jim
      December 20, 2018 at 11:26 pm

      It's pretty easy to develop a signature without learning how to write in cursive. A person can learn to do that in a few hours rather than wasting weeks/months/years perfecting an archaic method of writing that almost nobody under the age of 40 uses in real life.

      I mean I get the nostalgia, I still like rotary dial phones and CRT TVs, but even to me it's obvious that the world has moved on and young people these days aren't going to understand the appeal.

  15. Dillon Ryan
    March 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    I am nearly 16 years old and I never really learned cursive. I recently went to the BMV to get my temps. Once I had finished the test I started signing things to get the permit. When the person looked at my signature (which I do in print) and gave the paper back and said that I needed to give my signature. In which I responded with "I did". We had a conversation about this for a bit in which I told her I never really learned cursive and she told me I needed to get a signature. I told her that I am comfortable with the signature I have. She ends the conversation by saying that she may not let me get my license later if I don't change my signature. I was very angry by this point so I just walked away after I got my license.

    As much as I hate cursive. This generation will suffer if we stop teaching it.

    • Quintin Jones
      October 7, 2018 at 11:33 pm

      You don’t need to learn it, that person was one of the people obsessed with cursive. If you want to anyone else odds are they would let you do it. They let me do it. It is not a rule that you have to sign it in cursive, you should’ve asked for her superior.

  16. Mart Hamuffer
    February 12, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    I am currently transcribing letters and five year diary written by my maternal grandmother. A Wisconsin native, she spent a year in Florence Italy , a year teachig in a girls' boarding school and three - miserable, long, boring - years waiting for marriage to follow long engagement.

    If I were unable to write and read cursive, I would probably be unable to understand this interesting woman by deciphering the personal hand-writing foibles of her 100 year-old cursive .

    Perhaps, in the future, my grandchildren will be frustrated by their inability to decipher my letters hand-written in cursive to my parents from boarding school, a summer as exchange student in Pakistan, several years at college, many years as full-time mother, many international travels while doing research in Islamic architecture in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, etc., etc., etc.

    I am all for continuing the teaching of cursive as a universally recognizable means of communication; I am opposed to the possibilty cursive may soon be taught only as a "foreign language" to a select small group of students in colleges and unversities.

    • S'up
      March 3, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      I'm sorry but the lack of faith in the future generation is truly disappointing . Must we learn things in school to get it? Hey I know how to use a slide rule, why? Watched a YouTube video.

      There are so many books on the Palmer Method that a child wanting to read a grandparent's diary doesn't have to give up. Not to mention cursive is stylized print. If the handwriting is legible enough a person with no knowledge of cursive should be able to make the connection between cursive and print. You don't believe your grandchildren will be smart enough or determined enough to decipher your letters? That would be sad.

      Also a lot of the people I work with did not learn cursive but our manager slips into cursive often and my coworkers don't seem to have a problem understanding his writing. Leaving cursive out of school is on par with the the antequated slide rule

    • KLS
      January 27, 2018 at 1:19 am

      With all due respect may I ask why you'd have to be able to write cursive to read your grandmother's diary?

    • Quintin Jones
      October 7, 2018 at 11:36 pm

      Well I never learned how to write in cursive, but I can read it. Other than the S and R (which both look completely ridiculous) I’ve never had any sort of problem, and it wasn’t exactly hard to learn those two.

  17. torresongs
    February 8, 2017 at 1:15 am

    One of the most inspiring moments of my life was when I visited Washington DC and read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights with my own two eyes. Not a copy. Not a printed version. The real deal. I know teens and 20-somethings that can't do this. I worked in a post-grad film school with students and co-workers that could not read my cursive notes (and I got penmanship awards in school so it's not about that!). Let's not deprive students of the pleasure of being able to read the world's most treasured and important documents with their own eyes.

    • NC
      February 21, 2017 at 5:29 am

      I'm a 20 something who CAN read cursive, and frankly, I wish I'd spent my time learning something more important.

      Also, when my teachers went over "the world's most treasured and important documents", we read them in print.

      • Torresongs
        February 21, 2017 at 7:10 am

        And when no one can read cursive anymore, will they just trust that the printed version is accurate? Or would they rather be able to read it for themselves?

        • NC
          February 21, 2017 at 2:00 pm

          I can't read any of the religious texts in their original languages, or even Latin; I can't read Don Quixote in Spanish; I can't speak any of the foreign languages operas are sung in. Should I learn all of that to "be able to read/enjoy it" for myself? I'm not arguing that if I did it would improve accuracy - I'm just saying it's a waste, since plenty of learned scholars have already translated things for us.

        • Jim
          December 20, 2018 at 11:31 pm

          Why wouldn't it be accurate? It only takes one person who can read the original in order to check the accuracy. Frankly even somebody who has never seen cursive before is going to be able to figure it out if they put forth the effort, especially if they have a typed version to compare to.

    • NC
      February 21, 2017 at 5:29 am

      I'm a 20 something who CAN read cursive, and frankly I wish I'd spent my time learning something more important.

      Also, when my teachers went over "the world's most treasured and important documents", we read them in print.

    • Jim
      December 20, 2018 at 11:29 pm

      While we're at it we should not deprive students of the joys of working with 5.25" floppy disks or dialing into a bulletin board with a 2400 bps modem!

  18. Victoria
    January 11, 2017 at 3:11 am

    Read an article a short time ago, that said educators are discovering that kids who don't learn cursive are having issues with other skills and that learning cursive affects brain function and processing, seems the big natural computer called the brain needs tactile skills that combine other skills such as language, concentration and fine motor skills to enhance the learning and thought process and all those skills that those who dismiss rote skills such as practicing handwriting and recitation, had it wrong and cursive along with recitation are tools that sharpen the mind and increase brain function much more effectively then tap tap tap tap tap upon a keyboard. Which I could find the article to share.

    • Kate Gladstone
      February 3, 2019 at 7:14 pm

      The most interesting things about those articles (the ones that people remember as supporting cursive) are:
      /1/ people who are sure that they remember those articles usually share your experience of not being able to find them later on,
      /2/ In the rare cases where they do eventually find those articles, is invariably turns out that the articles are misquotations/incorrect paraphrases of research-studies that actually _didn’t_ support cursive over any of the other forms of our handwriting, such as print-writing. Usually, the articles turn out to be reports about research-studies that compared print-writing and keyboarding, and that found advantages for print-writing; sometimes, The articles turn out to have looked at more than one form of handwriting and to have NOT found any advantage for cursive above the other forms ; and occasionally, the original articles turn out not to have been about handwriting of any kind at all.
      If you ever find the article that I am looking for, and if it turns out to be an exception to the above, please let us all know, and include a link to the actual original research article so that we can see for ourselves. After all, knowing what’s in the actual research is at least as important as knowing what’s in the actual Declaration of Independence.

  19. Lee
    December 28, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I have terrible hand writing skills, so my teachers thought I was a dunce throughout my early school years (80's)
    The first day of high school, all of our teachers told us: "NO CURSIVE!"

    One last note.
    Ever try to read old documents written in cursive? Its pretty damn ineligible due to the fact that most people deviate from the standard and remake their own sytlized method or because they make inadvertent shortcuts, especially in long documents.

    It needs to go.

  20. Esther
    December 13, 2016 at 12:17 am

    My son has Tourette's Syndrome. Amongst the other, more obvious, side effects it means his handwriting is pretty awful and in some cases (when rushed) barely legible. Despite this his teacher (who is teaching the whole class) refuses to give up on teaching him cursive. In my view it would be far more sensible to simply let him concentrate on printing well!

  21. Tasnádi Zoltán
    December 12, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    First of all cursive is much faster than writing with print types. It's undebatable. I want to see how you would take notes if my Romanian teacher would give you the lecture. I can fall behind with rows even with cursive let alone the other. Second: history doesn't start at the Declaration of Independence, a lot of small countries have written documents before printing was even invented. I understand that in the USA that's not the case with history, but if you only talk about your history it's rather sad. Cursive handwriting is the most basic writing they teach you here in Eastern Europe, after the capital letters this is the first thing you learn about writing and yet we don't see any drawbacks from it. Printing your name as a legal signature is possible yet easily forfeitable. I think that it would take a lot of practise for someone to forfeit my signature because it's unique and possibly ugl in your point of view. Cursive writing is not something that is obsolate, on the other hand printed handwriting is because that's already replaced by technology. Sorry If I'm being one sided and hardly understandable, if it's needed I can ellaborate on my opinion.

  22. Dragon
    December 12, 2016 at 1:04 am

    I believe students should be made familier with cursive simple because it is an art form of communication but it should be taught that way, and to improve motor skills ... Admittedly any for of handwriting is becoming obsolete but everything we learn makes improvers us even obsolete art forms.

  23. Daisy
    December 11, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    When I was in elementary, we used to have a "Writing" class every Friday where we learn penmanship. We have our own notebook especially made for cursive writing. Our teacher gives us a box full of quotes. We pick one and copy it.
    A few years later, that class was removed from the curriculum. It's kind of sad..... :(

  24. Kristian
    November 3, 2016 at 12:54 am

    What about memorabilia? Or asking for an autograph? Will that entire world of collectable disappear?

  25. Rebecca
    October 21, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    I realize this post old, but... I can easily see both sides of this. My argument for teaching cursive, which I do as I homeschool, is that it crosses the midline (encouraging right brain/left brain development). We have seen an increase in sensory processing, spectrum disorders and I can't help but wonder if we actually kept things like learning cursive, at least the basics, in K and 1st, as well as other fine motor activities that are no longer "taught" or encouraged from climbing on the playground at school to tying laces, that our kids would be able to focus better. This is not to say that there are very real cases out there, I'm just not convinced we haven't made it worse.

  26. Kris
    August 26, 2016 at 5:49 am

    Is the real reason, that you can't write in cursive? I'm just asking. Your rant sounds a little bratty and you exaggerate quite a bit. It doesn't take "hundreds of hours" to learn. It's actually pretty easy. Saying people haven't used cursive in decades is a lie. You must be very young otherwise you wouldn't have said something so completely ignorant! Oh and that printed copy of the Declaration of Independence is just that. A printed copy! The cursive one is actually the original! It was written in cursive and signed later. maybe brush up on some history and stop getting info from Wikipedia.

    • NC
      February 21, 2017 at 5:34 am

      I'm almost 30 and I never use it (but yes, I CAN write cursive), other than to scribble something for a signature (and at this point, I basically just scribble, because cashiers don't even check/care). For me personally it is obsolete. The only person in my family who writes in cursive is my grandmother, in her early 80's.

      Clearly it's important to you, and that's great. For many of us though, it is a complete waste of time. I wish I'd been taught something more important.

  27. William
    August 13, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Cursive is the quickest hand writing style. Writing by hand can create a stronger bond with an idea than typing on a keyboard. Writing by hand is illustrative and unique to everyone. It requires a high level of concentration and a deep train of thought. It is the simplest of art forms and will be practiced well into the future due to it's usefulness.

    • Sonja
      August 18, 2016 at 2:51 am



    • Rob
      December 12, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      Dream on.

  28. Sonja
    August 9, 2016 at 3:45 am

    I'll give you another reason to learn to write in cursive, though I certanly do not endorse the Palmer Method or any other specific method, and my apologies if someone has already pointed this out:

    ALL of the other major languages of the Americas -- Spanish, Portuguese, and French -- use cursive for all of their handwritten communications, and teach it to children starting in first grade. If you do not learn cursive, you will have problems acquiring other commonly used languages in our hemisphere and using them the way native speakers do. You will always have a part of their linguistic competence missing from your own repertoire.

    We pay lip service to "multiculturalism," but when it comes to actually valuing other cultures, there is little evidence that we even know about what they may value, much less be willing to embrace it, or possibly just give it a try.

    I, for one, reject being dependent on a keyboard and on a need to replenish my battery. I reject being corralled into a single modality, and most of all, I reject being consigned to monolingualism. (Fortunately, my parents already saved me from that.) With cursive comes having a choice. Without it, you are stuck in your own little corner. There is a great, big world out there -- open your mind to it. Be willing to be versatile, rather than telling everyone else they must accomodate you, and that what you failed to learn "doesn't really matter."

    • Sonja
      August 9, 2016 at 3:53 am

      Of course my post contains a typographic error, in the very first sentence. Absent a good autocorrect, most texts do.

      My spelling in cursive would never have such an error.

  29. Deon
    July 18, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Stop teaching people cursive writing. That way we old fogies will have our own secret encrypted way of communicating in a way that modern "technocrats" will not be able to understand. On a different note, having been exposed to the god-awful spelling and grammar on forums like Facebook, I am one that prefers cursive wrinting and I challenge any type-writer or keyboqard user to beat me for speed and produce legible grammatically correct and spelling-error free documents. Enough said. May I suggest you get another more useful hobby-horse ?

    • someguy
      July 19, 2016 at 7:57 am

      Challenge accepted. I type 100 wpm accurately.

      • Deon
        July 19, 2016 at 8:27 am

        My conditions for the challenge would be that you do not have access to a computer, cell-phone or electric typewriter. I will limit myself to a pencil, pocket knife and paper. You can not guarantee that you will always have all the modern conveniences that enable you to type 100 wpm available under all circumstances whereas I can carry my materials with me at all times. You may have heard the (possibly) urban legend about the USA spending vast sums of money developing a ball-point pen that could operate in space and zero gravity while the Russians simply issued their astronauts with a pencil and some paper. Enough said. ;-)

        • Just Me
          July 30, 2016 at 4:24 am

          Ah, but when the Russians learned about those pens (which were developed by a private firm, not paid for by NASA), guess what they did...

          They ordered 100 pens and 1,000 cartridges.

          The new technology was preferable because pencil lead flaked and broke, which is not good in a micro-gravity environment since it could get into important systems and cause problems.

          And, by the way, in your original post you challenged any type-writer or "keyboqard" (sic) user. This implies that the two are different things, so changing the challenge in your second comment to disallow the use of a computer is petty and shows that you know that you would lose the challenge anyway.

          Cursive was invented for two things: 1. Speed, and 2. Quills were quite fragile so lifting and resetting them too much risked breakage. We don't use quills anymore so it is hardly a necessity.

          We all need to ask ourself this question - When it comes to the written word, where does the balance of our writing happen? Is it by hand, or is it by keyboard? If it is by hand, how many quills are putting their lives on the line every time they are picked up and being used to write (gasp!) print?

          Enough said. ;-)

        • Sonja
          August 9, 2016 at 4:47 am

          Why have just one modality, when you can have more than one?

          If you have just one, then that's what you have to use. When you have more than one, then you get to choose.

    • David M
      August 21, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      Hoooooo boy. I would absolutely destroy you in speed and in accuracy on a keyboard.

    • Quintin Jones
      October 7, 2018 at 11:56 pm

      These kids today. They need to go back to learning something useful, like how do use a laundry mangle, construct a trebuchet, write in hieroglyphs, shoe a horse, and speak Latin. I’m sure these skills will help them in the future with their programming degrees, and using the computers that are needed in nearly every single modern job.

      • Jim
        December 20, 2018 at 11:37 pm

        It seems a lot of people are just completely clueless about how the modern world works. In my job we have a paperless office, there isn't even a printer! I'm old enough to remember working at a place with a supply closet full of notepads and pens & pencils but that's a thing of the past. Modern workers very rarely write notes by hand, computers are used virtually everywhere. What if the apocalypse comes and our computers all fail? Well then we'll have bigger problems than handwriting.

  30. Marshall Brown
    July 18, 2016 at 2:24 am

    I must admit the most appealing reasons for me are the beauty of well formed cursive. Calligraphy is an advanced example of the beauty we find in cursive/script that seems lost in plain print. I suspect it is also better at producing fine motor skills than print but I have nothing but intuition to base that on.

  31. Allen G.
    July 17, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    How about kids these days wont even be able to sign their own friggin name, without knowing cursive. I think that is a really important skill. Even if checks go obsolete, what about signing business contracts and other paperwork?

    • Allen G.
      July 17, 2016 at 11:52 pm

      It doesnt matter if its unintelligent scribbles as the article puts it, at least its THEIR OWN unique scribbles. If everyone is printing their name then you could forge any document you please. Let's just go with the system for the illiterate and have people sign with a big fat X in crayon.

      • Monomania
        July 19, 2016 at 4:06 am

        As someone who works in a bank and deals with having to read people's horrid handwriting skill, I'm willing to go out on a limb and say that the ability to write in cursive has been severely underserving the people using it. Cut to countless moments of me having to decide what the amount of a check is supposed to be (five hundred? Five thousand? Or maybe he's trying to spell eight hundred?) because the words written on the legal line of the check is the legally binding amount. I have no doubt this has caused a lot of issues for people before and while I don't think having print only would fix that issue, it would make it slightly less likely to happen. As well, I'm not sure if you're aware, but cursive is in no way, shape, or form a reliable defense against forgery. If you walk in somewhere you've never been and sign something, how would that distinguish you from a different complete stranger coming in and signing your name as theirs? It's about recognizing a similar pattern in the style you write. Have you never seen anything that's been hand printed by two different people? I've seen two different peoe write in cursive in a way that was nearly identical. And I think it's easier to hide mistakes in cursive for forgery purposes than print. But what's the fun of not going to extremes in our examples? Because clearly we would obviously be reduced to kindergartners with crayons if we didn't use cursive. Who would have thought the only thing that has kept us from infantile crayon hammering was cursive (totally ignoring the fact that the majority of cursive I see looks like it was done by the hands of a three year old who felt the liberating grip of a pen for the first time.)

  32. Vida
    July 5, 2016 at 2:38 am

    How about being able to leave someone a note when the power fails? Pen & Paper? Draw a picture instead? Most people can't draw legibly. How about being able to leave a warning note when one's phone has lost charge? And a printed name is not a signature ask the State Dept, a passport application with a printed signature would be returned - happened to someone I know. Cursive teaches discipline, attention to detail, patience, fine motor skills, those with lousy hand writing at least had a chance at learning some of this, yet probably have a learning disability that kept them from being able to do so, which could be laziness or they weren't given a chance. Its condemning our future generations to reliance on electronics as well as government surveillance. They want us dumb and dependent. Cursive give independence, off the grid reliance.

    • Doc
      December 11, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      He's not saying handwriting should be removed from schools...only learning to write in cursive. Everyone will still know how to print.

      Seriously? You're biggest concern during a SHTF moment is being able to write in cursive. I can see it now..."Ol' Billy would've survived the cataclysmic hurricane if he'd only known cursive...too bad he spent so much time learning those survival skills instead of how to write pretty."

      I'm 41 and haven't used cursive since high school...other than to sign my name which is pretty much illegible squiggles by now. I did have to write almost everyday for over 20 years as an aircraft mechanic. All aircraft forms had to be neatly printed so they were legible...including our signatures for sign-offs. Aircraft forms by the way are legal federal documents.

  33. Gerald Spencer
    June 28, 2016 at 2:28 am

    People who do not wish to write in cursive are uncoordinated, undisciplined and just plain lazy.

    • Myst
      July 19, 2016 at 1:07 am

      wow, what a conclusion based on a one simple thing

    • someguy
      July 19, 2016 at 7:59 am

      Cursive isn't as legible.

      • Sonja
        August 18, 2016 at 2:55 am

        Mine is legible, and beautiful, or so I'm told.

  34. Virginia
    June 26, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    There are many original documents done in cursive writing (censuses, personal correspondence etc. . . but learning how to read cursive is not the same as being taught to write it. Kids can often read before they can print legibly. I still think there is value in teaching cursive writing. I never would have finished 90% of my exams in high school without the ability to write legible cursive. I cannot print nearly as quickly as I write. Should we spend hours on forming identical scripts? I don't see what purpose that serves. Teaching kids the proper mechanics of writing cursive is still useful. How to hold a pen, how to move the arm instead of the fingers to prevent cramping, etc... My 13 year old can't sign her name in cursive at all and even printed it is nearly illegible. One wonders that if she had been made to write all her assignments instead of print would her printing ultimately improve as her fine motor developed.

  35. Deed
    June 21, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    I have a little guy who is struggling at school with fine motor skills and has been on the waiting list for an occupational therapist to work with him. They pulled cursive off of the curriculum last year so he never got to do it in school. I have been doing cursive exercises and practices with him for the last two years, as well as piano, art, crafts, video games, typing, etc. and he has improved greatly in all areas and much of it is from all the extra support he gets outside of class. I started typing decades after him, and it is a skill that I learned over time. With technology here to stay, he'll probably end up being the better speedier typist when he's older and that is wonderful, however I don't see him as being an improved version of a modern citizen because he will have typing skills over writing skills.

    It may be an art form, it may be archaic, it may be primitive and many other things that I've read in this article, but is that really the reality? It is okay to go forward and progress while still retaining traditional styles, even for the sake of knowledge. You know, like how they still teach Latin. Why take away another tool in the toolbox for our kids because some people have deemed it unnecessary? Technology is only part of the reason for taking it away, I think more of it is that teachers do not want to teach it because it's time consuming and many are struggling with class sizes and fitting everything into a day, not because the skill itself is such a horrible skill to have. Cursive teaches you to think and organize differently and builds other parts of the brain develops coordination, same way as an art class does or learning a new language would make you use different patterns. Pen to paper is such a great method that has always been around and always will be despite the naysayers.

  36. CAL243
    June 5, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Majority of cursive writings are illegible, but not unreadable. Most writings have the basic form. I do not understand why there is such a need by educators to eliminate this from the curriculum. I am happy that several States have realized this is a very important curriculum for our Students and are passing laws that require it in the School's curriculum. I am hopeful all States will follow suit.

    Although the historical documents are in typeset as a Genealogist, I worry that our children and grandchildren will not be able to read the hundreds of millions of documents held in our National Archives, Library of Congress and other Historical Institutions. Probate records, land records, church records, marriage, birth and death records are in cursive writings. Letter's between our founding Fathers while writing the Constitution are in cursive writings. ie Thomas Jefferson's rough draft of the Declaration of Independence.

    Sure you can say that these old documents are transcribed in typeset, but remember the transcription is only as good as the person who is able to read it and transcribe it. Often times their are errors in the transcription.

    Most of the News on the web is not factual. How are our children supposed to research the facts if they cannot read those original factual documentation because they are in cursive writing.

    Educators seem to not know how often cursive writing is used in the workforce today and will also be used in the future. Bill of Ladings and Invoices are still written in cursive, because most small businesses cannot afford the expensive electronics and this won't change. Those working for Attorneys, Land offices, Title Companies must research old land and probate records, all in cursive. Librarians must be able to help others do research which involves looking at old documents. Medical history research involves reviewing old documents in cursive. Researchers who review Census data, all in cursive. And the list goes on and on.

    I feel we are dummying down our children. We are already low in our education system compared to other countries. As far as I see the only country that has chosen not to teach cursive writing any longer is Finland. So should we add one more thing to the list of things we are behind when compared to other Country's educational system.

  37. Adam
    May 5, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    My main objection to cursive handwriting is that it is rarely legible. I made this observation years before this debate began. If a person takes the time to write neatly, that's fine, but this is rarely the case, in my opinion. I think that, typically, a person's block-printing will tend to be more legible than that same person's cursive writing, whatever their level of fine motor skills. If we're worried about note taking in lectures, then we should've been teaching one of the short-hand systems, which allow a one to go much faster than cursive handwriting.

  38. John
    April 25, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    I don't understand why cursive and keyboarding need to be mutually exclusive. Most programs, such as Microsoft Word, offer a variety of scripts. So, why not teach students to type in a cursive script to enable them to be able to read and understand cursive, without spending "hundreds of hours" (which seems a bit exaggerated) teaching students how to write cursive?

  39. Tom
    April 5, 2016 at 3:52 am

    I wish everyone would acknowledge the fact that young kids today -do- read cursive -without- being taught because they see it everywhere in advertisements, video games, movies, on the covers of books, smartphone apps, etc.

    I know everyone has anecdotes of their teenagers saying "I can't read that because my school doesn't teach me cursive... I hate school, mom. Don't you hate my school, too?" But sometimes teenagers seek attention and drama. And that drama is even more cathartic and palpable when they can turn former allies into newfound foes fighting over them. What better and more entertaining disruption than to turn their parents against their teachers?

  40. Kelly
    February 15, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    For the most part, I agree with your "debunking" of the common reasons for supporting cursive instruction. Most of those reasons given are crap, in my opinion (apocalypse? Really?)

    That said, I respectfully disagree with your overall assessment. Cursive is not useless or obsolete - I personally use it every day, as do many others whom I personally know. (my printing is abominable, but I'm working on that.) I'll be 28 this month, meaning that my early years were spent in the 90's, when the focus had shifted away from handwriting. I was taught cursive, but time spent on it was short. If the teachers could possibly read my writing (print or cursive) it was good enough. I wrote with pencil, then with (ballpoint) pen. Always fast, as fast as I could so that I could keep up with the teacher.

    By the time I graduated highschool, I had a pen death grip, and handwriting that I wonder how anyone could read. (I was envious of colleagues that have beautiful handwriting. I still have to handwrite things every day, although my workplace is slowly becoming computerized.) A couple years ago I endeavored to improve my handwriting, and did so with practice. But there was another problem: while filling out a one-page form at work, I got halfway through before my hand cramped. I could barely write one single page. Back to the drawing board. I researched, asked for advice, researched some more... And eventually taught myself to have respectable handwriting, and I can write several pages at a time easily, although I'm still fighting to break over twenty years of bad habits that I blame on never receiving proper instruction in the first place.

    So there you have it. I wasn't given any instruction beyond a month or so, and no real focus was paid to legibility, how to properly hold a writing instrument, of really anything else other then "this is what letters look like." I regret it. I really do. I wish I had been taught properly (it's not so hard to learn typing that you can't do both. Really.) and now I'm trying to undo years of damage/bad habits in order to learn something that really would be a lot easier if I didn't have to convince my arm/hand to do something other than what it has been doing for twenty years.

    I'm waiting for the day when I and many others my age and older are forced to change our handwriting because younger generations are no longer able to read it.

  41. Anonymous
    August 28, 2015 at 2:15 am

    I had great difficulty being able to write (cursively) in a neat, legible manner. Teachers tried everything to get me to be able to meet their standards. For several reasons, I was never able to meet their standards. It was not until I took several years of drafting, that I found that I could "print" my thoughts and still be understood. To this day, this is the way in which I communicate with pen and paper. I do regret that I cannot quite match the speed of most cursive writers.

    Now, I always wondered how people get through post secondary schooling today, but it appears that typing on computers has taken the place of the written word. I cannot imagine how all of that clicking of keys and the distraction of the glowing screen can be better than a room full of students listening intently and scribbling down notes to cement the lessons.

    It seems to me also that a pencil and notebook is a quicker, easier way to keep track of day to day observations and of things encountered in the real world. I cannot imagine Jane Goodall pulling out a tablet and flat-fingering her observations about her gorillas. I still carry around a small notebook and pen to jot down notes and lists, even though I also carry a smartphone. When I was working as a support specialist, I found that writing notes longhand worked better than trying to keep track of typed notes.

    Perhaps what is needed is a better way to put pen to paper. Pitman shorthand comes to mind. Maybe that would be a better subject for young learners. I know that I can think faster than I can currently write or print. Whether or not the thoughts are worth recording...

    • Anonymous
      November 2, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      I went to to see the original Declaration of Independence. I'm a bit confused. It is not typeset. If the DOI were to be typeset, than yes, our children wouldn't have to worry about learning it. Please clarify. Credibility can be lost faster than its gained.

      • Justin Pot
        November 2, 2015 at 3:34 pm

        You shouldn't decide to teach cursive based on whether or not the declaration was originally typeset or not, but come one: the printing press was invented hundreds of years before the declaration was signed. Of course the original distributed copy was typeset.

        Here's a rundown of the history:

        You'll see early drafts were in cursive, but the first widespread available copies were typesetted and printed by John Dunlap in Philly. Only a month later was the iconic version of the declaration most people picture created.

        • Jarrod
          November 11, 2015 at 11:03 pm

          The "original" Declaration of Independence was done in cursive. I would say it is much easier to read in typeset. Now, you can say the DOI was transcribed into typeset (printed version). So, yes you could say the first DOI done in typeset was the original in typeset anything after is a copy of the typeset.

          The point is, if a person doesn't know cursive and went to view the original DOI, they wouldn't be able to read it. If a person was taught cursive than they would. Another good point is if we want to make sure cursive writing put into typeset is correct, we must be able to read cursive, not just for DOI but any other documents done in cursive.

          Without a typeset version of the DOI, a lot of people would have a difficult time reading the DOI . . . unless they were taught cursive.

          When we talk about cursive, calligraphy comes to mind. In my opinion cursive is somewhat similar. It is decorative in a way, for those who can write legibly in cursive. If we were to stop cursive, it would take some "weaning."

          Please, see for yourself.

    • Oscar
      April 17, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      I still haven't heard a factual explanation as to why cursive should no longer be taught, all I've heard is speculative reasoning from 'educators' about a future where all of our interactions will be digital. If that's the reasoning, then why bother learning algebra? I've never used it once in my professional career. History? We have Google. Ask yourself why grade school teachers can't spare the class time to teach cursive and you'll find a whole other set of issues.

      From the standpoint of a college professor, most, students take notes by hand and if they can't write cursive, they tend to lag behind the students who can and/or they miss key information because they're trying to keep up with my lectures. I don't think that cursive handwriting should be taught as vigorously as it was in the past, but it should be taught. I learned how to touch type in just two months, that can't possibly be the reason for not teaching cursive.

      Unfortunately, the real reason is because of the importance, and the amount, of standardized testing that students must endure in order to pass classes or to graduate a school year. Schools have to keep their grade percentages up or else they risk losing state and federal funding. Perhaps if grade school teachers weren't so busy teaching students how to pass standardized tests, there would be more time for writing. As it is now, so many students entering college have to be taught writing skills they should have learned in high school. Freshmen year is now spent deprogramming students and teaching them that not every question or problem has a right or wrong answer.

      Instead of helping our students learn more, the digital revolution in education is teaching children how to conform to technology and think in binary terms.

  42. Anonymous
    August 24, 2015 at 8:38 am

    I just miss the point that curcive writing can destroy handwriting.

    When young, I seemed to be a left handed writer people told me. The school in those days forced me to start writing with my right hand AND in curcive. Nowadays I cannot write left handed, my right hand is horrible even when writing in print.
    So I use my phone, tablet, pc or whatever option possible to make myself clear.
    When I must write by hand I have to do it slowly if I will be able to read it myself lateron.

  43. Anonymous
    August 24, 2015 at 12:59 am

    HI Justin, until exams can be written on a tech device (so far, not an option in most Canadian educational institutions), students need to learn cursive to complete their exams. Cursive is much faster than printing.

    • Justin Pot
      August 24, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      I went to college about a decade ago, printed every exam, and never had a problem. I wasn't a minority.

      • Anonymous
        August 26, 2015 at 10:25 pm

        Agree, never wrote in cursive on an exam. That just sounds terrible for whoever's grading.

  44. Anonymous
    August 23, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Great article. I was taught cursive in school and my penmanship was okay. One day at work I saw my boss was printing a letter and inquired which resulted in a race. We both wrote the same thing, he printing and me in cursive and, he beat me! I was surprised. I switched to printing and can now read my own "writing". Faster, easier, looks better, legible. Still working on my signature. :)

    • someguy
      July 19, 2016 at 8:01 am

      For Kevin, in cursive the signature is K scribble :)

  45. Anonymous
    August 23, 2015 at 4:31 am

    Handwriting (particularly cursive) reflects your personality and the way your mind is organized.It is an exercise in method and structure. It gives one the ability to communicate and take notes quickly, economically and efficiently. You propose to take away a tool without offering an equally efficient substitute. To simplify life is a positive thing while downscaling is always a negative one and, in the long run, it always increases social, cultural and income gaps. Just as less and less people are able, willing or making time to cook, chefs, restaurants, related TV shows and cookbooks are making more and more profits. If you take away the ability to write and read quickly and efficiently you will produce,on a much larger scale, similar effects.

  46. Anonymous
    August 22, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    I think that is should be available, but optional. Possibly as part of an art curriculum including other script varieties.

    Do you know the names of any of the other, better scripts you mention? I've never liked the Palmer cursive very much anyway, so I'd like to learn something better.

  47. Anonymous
    August 22, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    "Printing works perfectly find..."

    I agree. We need to teach proofreading more than we need to teach cursive.

  48. Anonymous
    August 21, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Here's an argument in favor of teaching cursive in schools: I am left-handed with no other left-handers in my family. Because of this, when I was growing up in the 1970s I was behind on certain motor skills. My printing was so atrocious that no one could read it, including me. Then the third-graders in my class started learning cursive (2nd and 3rd grades were combined). It clicked. My parents and teacher were not sure how I managed to learn cursive so quickly and so well, but they had enough sense not to stop me. And it kept me from failing second grade.

    My point is this: Give kids the opportunity to learn new things. We as a society will never know what they are capable of until we do.

    Debby Hanoka
    Boca Raton, FL

    P. S. Justin, did you inhale?!?

    • Anonymous
      August 24, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      Debby, your story is telling, but only to you. Myself, I could never read my own cursive writing, and have written in print since 6th grade. I don't assume that anyone else should follow my unique experience just because it worked for me. Justin is correct, this is an archaic technology that should not be forgotten, but also should not be taught in the public schools.
      I mean, what is next, Olde English? Shakespeare loses something in the translation, so should elementary students be forced to learn to read and speak Olde English? How about Latin?
      I call them ærgewyrht and vetus. (If you don't read Olde English or Latin, that was OLD).
      The communication skills you learn from cursive are not from the FORM of writing, but from the creative ACT of communicating.
      I would much rather the schools teach kids to create a coherent sentence, written OR typed.

      • Anonymous
        August 26, 2015 at 10:29 pm

        I agree with Mark.

        I'm left handed. My print writing kinda sucks. My cursive COMPLETELY sucks. I'm glad yours is great but I'm the opposite. I would absolutely hate it if I was forced to write in cursive anymore.

        Never used it outside of my signature (which, as Justin noted, the majority of signatures out there are garbage).

        And Justin is not arguing against never allowing kids to learn it, he just wants it to be optional. Some people, like you, will shine with it and love it forever. Others, like me, will absolutely hate it and never be forced to deal with it.

        What's wrong with that?

    • someguy
      July 19, 2016 at 8:03 am

      That is interesting... we have a lefty at home with barely legible chicken scratch (as you would expect when writing the less convenient way). Maybe we'll have him try cursive.

  49. Anonymous
    August 21, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Several notes:

    1. PRINTED don't mean eligible either - just look up 3rd Reich's gothic letters font.

    2. While typing is - under perfect circumstances - faster than writing, this applies only to plain text, i.e. symbols you had on your basic keyboard. Otherwise - you better off writing, and cursive is faster - much faster - than 'printed' letters, it's entire reason for it's invention.

    Exact type of cursive is debatable of are keyboard layouts (dvorak anyone?).BTW in pre-iphone era of resistive screens it was still faster to scribble something by stylus than type though nowadays most of mobile devices are castrated in that area.

    And btw - argument of 'better use that time in school for something more productive' is double-edged - 'calligraphy' teaches patience and attention and is just a secondary factor when learning other written-language skills.
    Unless teacher is a foolish perfectionist passable level is hard to reach only to really handicapped students (and thats NOT an argument as otherwise there's NOTHING than can't be argued against this way).

    • Anonymous
      August 22, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      Writing in cursive for me is much SLOWER than writing in print so it's really based on the individual.

      As for the calligraphy comment... I'm pretty sure the whole argument is against the Palmer cursive and not calligraphy.

  50. Anonymous
    August 21, 2015 at 6:25 am

    Well the 'GATES' family will not be credited for finding the Freemasons - National Treasure because they wouldn't know that the Silence doGood Letters are not GRAFITTI...

    Plus it would make my convent shool principal turn over a few times in her grave.

    yes we had a hard time with accurate and decently acceptable knowledge not being presentable. and it was not until i passed engineering that my handwriting skills topped putting popular doctors to shame...

  51. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    Things that you should not do is make your signature too readable or too illegible either.
    Perfect penmanship would mean anyone else that can write cursive that well can forge your signature.
    A total scribble would mean that all someone else needs to do is scribble to forge your signature.

    I think it should still be taught, but not spend a lot of time on it, if for no other reason than it helps to be able to read other old letters and records, for example genealogy often becomes more interesting later.

    And cursive forms the basis for a more personal signature.

    Identity theft is aided by an easily forged signature, if you cannot prove that it is not yours then it may stand as yours leaving you responsible for the bill.

    • Anonymous
      August 22, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      A person's signature is never exactly the same unless practiced. They actually detect forgeries by checking to see if it is an exact duplicate of another. So if you make your signature exactly the same every time, you are increasing the chance it can be forged.

  52. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    As much as I think cursive is beautiful and brings feeling to what you write, in my case, it is mostly illegible, even to me, so probably just teaching printing would be much less of a debacle for those of us who are not in the least artistic. I could never master those stupid spiral thingies, anyway. They looked like a Slinky gone mad. Print is easier to write, and much easier to read. So, I have to say, go ahead and do away with cursive.

  53. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    If there is an argument to be made that NOT teaching cursive is in any way to going to improve education, stating that "[t]he Declaration of Independence was signed in 1774" is NOT going to instill confidence in that prediction.

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      l apologize for this typo. In my defense, I am Canadian. :)

  54. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I suppose being able to write in cursive isn't strictly speaking necessary or particularly useful to children these days, but I think if people are so set against teaching it, then schools should focus more on improving general penmanship or some other activity to encourage better fine motor skill development in elementary school aged children.

    I had very poor fine motor control when I was young, until I started learning cursive. The higher standard of penmanship and increased difficulty over standard print really began improving my fine motor skills, as did learning to hand sew in home economics at about the same time. I think most elementary school students don't receive lessons in either of these skills anymore, and when I was learning them in elementary school (late 90s and early 2000s), most of the other school districts had already phased them out. Certainly those that are creative and artistic can learn fine motor skills from art classes, but this never worked for students like me who couldn't come up with anything to draw.

    Right now I'm almost done with my PhD in Biochemistry, doing disease research in the fruit fly model. Dissecting fly tissues is an incredibly challenging task, and less than 5% of students who have tried to work in our lab have possessed the fine motor skills to handle even the most basic techniques. Coincidentally, the ones who had steady hands were disproportionately taught cursive in school, and had hobbies like cross stitch, model building and painting, sewing, carving, etc. when they were younger.

    I know that most work is not as demanding as mine is in this area, but you don't know at age 10 if a kid is going to want to be a brain surgeon or a scientist when she or he grows up, and so I think it's irresponsible not to include some kind of intensive fine motor training as part of general early childhood education.

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Do you think teaching a proper script as part of an art class would teach those fine motor skills, Allegretto?

  55. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Just like to point out that in the 4th section of this article you wrote Cursing Writing is a technology not Cursive.

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 6:37 pm

      Thanks for pointing this out! I'll go ahead and fix it.

  56. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    With your logic, why not extend it to other things like Calculus, Trignometry, Ancient History, Biology, and other subjects that you'll probably never use in your adult life? Let's eliminate them all.

    Obviously I am against eliminating cursive.

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 6:39 pm

      Do you really think none of those subjects are used in everyday life? They've all made my life better by helping me understand the world.

    • Anonymous
      August 26, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      This comment should be the textbook definition of "slippery slope fallacy".

      • Sonja
        August 11, 2016 at 2:24 am

        It would be a fallacy if there were no evidence of such a trend. However . . .

  57. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Oh, btw, I think cursive should be taught in schools, but not hammered like in certain grades where you can only write in cursive. But why stop teaching it altogether?

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      There's a line for sure, and right now every state is figuring out where it should be. It's a discussion we all get to take part in.

  58. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    As a kid I looked forward to learning cursive. It felt very adult. I used to pretend I could write cursive by just scribbling on paper. I feel like we're losing something (though what it is, I don't know) by giving this up.

  59. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    I am 74 and believe it or not, was never taught cursive. I was taught to print and to this day, still print when I have to write something, including my signature. This was never a problem except when I needed to get a driver's license in Big Spring, TX, in the early 60s. I filled out the form and "signed" it. The clerk said that (printed) signature was not acceptable, I HAD to sign in cursive. I showed her my passport with printed signature, RN license with printed signature, and my license from Connecticut with printed signature. She said she didn't care, if I didn't sign my license application with a cursive signature, I wouldn't get a Texas driver's license. I scrawled something with the comment that it didn't look like any other signature I ever wrote. I got my license.

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Way to mess with Texas, I guess.

  60. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    This makes me very sad. I cannot agree because everyone's signature is unique. The point being that a signature seals the deal, more'so than the spoken word. So, in the future, perhaps in 10 years when humans will be micro-chipped, thanks to technology. I wonder who will be happy with this turn of events?

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      Something is lost every time a technology is replaced, yes, but you can't stop it from happening. People move on from a technology when better methods present themselves, and that's what's happening here with cursive. If we want to save handwriting, we need to change how we think about it.

      • Sonja
        August 11, 2016 at 2:34 am

        Correction: It is happening in the public schools in the U.S.

        It is not happening anywhere else.

        I truly wonder how you imagine Americans will learn to write in Arabic or Chinese, or even other European languages where people write in cursive starting at age five, when they never learned to write their own language in more than a single way, and never developed the skill needed to write in cursive.

        Sure, learn just one modality. Be dependent on that. What's not to like? It's modern to lack choices in how you express yourself.

        By the way, this has nothing to do with the end of inkwells and quills. We have pens and pencils. Those aren't going out of style anytime soon.

  61. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I remember learning cursive writing in school. I never did understand the graphic connection between printed Roman letters and the Palmer method. Some letters just look like someone's personal quirk. When I studies architecture, we were taught "lettering" - carefully writing each letter in printed form. I then realized that with enough practice, you can master any handwriting style. I later learned "Italic" - not the misnomer slanted type on your computer, but an easily readable handwriting developed by Venetian court stenographers in the early Renaissance. Italic looks much closer to printed letters, and can be written just as quickly as other longhand cursives. The Palmer cursive writing looks something like a bastardized Italic - something uncoordinated education administrators force teachers to waste time on. It now looks like a mistake that bureaucrats are too lazy to fix.

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Not only are they too lazy to fix it, but every time they try to fix it people get mad.

  62. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 11:33 am

    I am not surprised to read this in a world where good spelling and grammar are optional. I do agree that illegible handwriting is somewhat pointless but I also believe that fine motor skills are important. I have read too many articles, manuals and other documents where the meaning was ambiguous. This was not because it was typeset but was due to the poor spelling or grammar. Speed is only important if you have something worth writing clearly. If one's writing makes no sense, it matters not how it is written nor how quickly.

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      For what it's worth I think clear writing skills are more important than ever before.

  63. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 10:42 am

    One of Nietzsche’s friends, a composer, noticed a change in the style of his writing when the philosopher started using his typewriter. His already terse prose had become even tighter, more telegraphic. “Perhaps you will through this instrument even take to a new idiom,” the friend wrote in a letter, noting that, in his own work, his “‘thoughts’ in music and language often depend on the quality of pen and paper.”... “You are right,” Nietzsche replied, “our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts".

  64. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Oh man. This was a surprisingly funny article, and I totally agree. The point of handwriting is to be READABLE. Cursive is much less so than plain print.

    • Anonymous
      August 26, 2015 at 10:31 pm


  65. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 8:50 am

    This generation of kids will officially will not be able to read script fonts. They will become obsolete. Calligraphy will die. Proper penmanship will die.

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      Is calligraphy taught in schools anywhere? I'm all for beautiful scripts being taught in art classes, it's the bastardized Palmer Method I have a problem with.

      • Kate Gladstone
        March 25, 2017 at 9:10 pm

        Italic is taught in a growing number of schools in most countries, including some in the USA. I could connect you with some fellow teachers thereof …

  66. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 7:50 am

    There are actual scientific research on the topic available which should be taken into account when thinking about dropping cursive writing in schools.

    A couple of articles to begin with:

    Which brings us to this - humans are getting stupider by the generation.

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      There's a lot of interesting research out there, and I thank you for pointing it out. Most of these benefits could be replicated by teaching proper, attractive scripts in an art class instead of teaching the hideous Palmer Method, which is designed for efficiency, and pretending it's a practical skill. People aren't using it when they grow up.

      • Anonymous
        August 20, 2015 at 11:02 pm

        "Most of these benefits could be replicated by teaching proper, attractive scripts in an art class"
        Of what real life benefit are all the art and music classes kids are forced to take in primary and secondary schools? Please do not say that they help appreciate music/art because they do not. They just make the kids lives miserable. How many kids pursue art or music once they are done with their classes?

  67. Anonymous
    August 20, 2015 at 2:56 am

    I'm in a Gen Xer and learned cursive in elementary school and I'm not good at it.
    My cursive writing was/is awful and was told to work on making it better. No one offered to teach my how to write it better.
    In High School I had a teacher accuse me of having my boyfriend write my homework.
    I finally stopped writing in cursive and am glad I stopped.
    The only positive I had with writing in cursive is it made finding my spelling mistakes harder.
    If a kid wants to learn learn cursive, let them. If they don't, let them. I wish I had had a choice.

    • Anonymous
      August 20, 2015 at 8:52 am

      I can relate to this. I only got better by practicing.

  68. Guy McDowell
    August 19, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Here are my arguments for continuing with students learning cursive. Although the methodology could use some updating.

    Your Name is You

    When you put your name to something, you're endorsing it. You're stating, "I'll wage my name and reputation on this." Of course, for some people, that just doesn't matter anymore. For me, it does. So if I see that someone thinks their name is only worth a few keystrokes, or couldn't be bothered to write legibly, I assume they feel the same way about themselves.

    I'll get roasted for that statement. Shame on me for expecting the same from them that I expect from myself.

    Develop Fine Motor Skills

    There are many ways to develop fine motor skills in the hands, that's true. But how many of them are happening in school at the time that is best for developing them? Even printing isn't being graded in many schools. It's up to the teacher to interpret the markings. I'm not being sarcastic - it's actually happening in the schools that my kids went too.

    In fact, Montessori schools believe, "...cursive (is a) developmentally appropriate method of writing for children under the age of six."

    The Montessori school of thought believes that the natural looping motions in cursive are more natural than ball and stick printing. They say it appeals to a child's innate tendencies refining manual dexterity, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination.

    Isn't it ironic that those that protest cursive writing tend to assign conservative, restrictive qualities to the people that advise cursive writing?

    Because, as we know, the Montessori educational approach is based on an emphasis in independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child's natural psychological, physical, and social development.

    So if you're a kid today and 10 years from now you're applying for a job requiring precision hand work, but you can't write your name, will your resume make it to the short pile? I don't know. But if the resumes are coming across my desk, they won't.

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Why are you in the comments section, Guy? Write this into an article. :)

      • Guy McDowell
        August 20, 2015 at 10:36 pm

        Not only do I write for MakeUseOf, I'm a reader too! :D

  69. Anonymous
    August 19, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    My daughter is currently in fourth grade. In our school system, she didn't even learn cursive until third grade, and it was left to the teacher whether he/she wanted to teach it or not. My daughter was excited to learn it because she could then "write like a grown up."

    For my two cents, I'm 44, and I hate cursive. My cursive handwriting has always been so bad that as soon as what I wrote passes from short-term memory, I can't tell you what it says. I print quite well, and I can print faster than I can write in cursive.

    Now, I will say this--and admittedly, my evidence is purely anecdotal--schools seem to place much less emphasis on handwriting, whether it be printed or cursive. Even at my daughter's age, the school prefers printed (as in, by a word processor) submissions on any kind of reports. My son, who is a high school senior, has atrocious handwriting; mine was better in second grade. He also has been submitting reports printed from a computer for his entire school career.

    fcd76218, in his/her comment, puts up the straw man of proper spelling and grammar. I don't know that if he/she realizes that language is dynamic; it doesn't remain static. In my lifetime alone, I have noticed a change in the common pronunciation of the words "often" and "salmon." As more people grow up with "leet speak," it will creep into the vernacular. Formal language will always remain a generation or so behind, of course, but even that will change.

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      The evolution of language, and everything really, can be hard to grasp within the context of a single human life. I think Douglas Adams put it best, though I'd personally say all of us fall into one of these three categories on some issue or another:

      "Anything that is in the world when you're born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that's invented between when you're fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things."

  70. Anonymous
    August 19, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    If we are going to be progressive, let's do away with teaching any kind of handwriting to our kids. Handwriting is an archaic form of communication – one best left to history. While we're at it, why not discard King's/Queen's English or American and switch to leet speak or text speak. Hardly anybody uses proper English anyway.

    "Let’s stop pretending this is a practical skill."
    If you dismiss a priori any value cursive may have then you automatically eliminate any discussion on the matter.

    Why this crusade on your part against cursive writing? If you do not want to use it, then don't. Nobody is holding a gun to your head or twisting your arm to use it. To misquote Shakespeare, 'Methinks Justin doth protest too much."

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      That quote is supposed to have an obvious ironic...gah, nevermind.

      If you think the only value of a skill is whether it's practical than I haven't made my argument clearly. We devalue proper script when we say that cursive is a practical skill because we focus on efficiency instead of beauty. The Palmer Method is what we end up with when we do that – it's not particularly beautiful, because it was designed to be fast. I think teaching actual beautiful scripts from bygone eras in art classes would have all kinds of benefits, but to get there we need to realize this isn't a practical life skill – it's an art.

      • Anonymous
        August 20, 2015 at 10:40 pm

        You still haven't answered why you are on this crusade. Why the urge to save school kids from learning handwriting? There are many other impractical subjects that should not be taught in our schools, and there are many subjects that should be taught instead. Why such an intense interest in handwriting? You sound like the US Government "We know what is best for you"

        • Justin Pot
          August 20, 2015 at 11:10 pm

          Governments are spending millions of dollars teaching kids a useless skill, and I'd like to see it stop. It's wasteful. Do I need another reason?

          But this is hardly a crusade: I write thousands of articles for this site, but only two about cursive handwriting. Between this article and the prior one, I've written about sites you can use to teach yourself skills three times – though none of them got a flood of comments like this one.

  71. Anonymous
    August 19, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I just wanted to chime in with my two cents. I am in no way trying to stoke the flames of another debate. So read if you so choose, but don't bother wasting your time with a reply to counter any of my points. As someone who growing having to learn Palmer cursive I couldn't agree more with it's uselessness, for reference sake I was born in the early 90s. I was pretty good at it too. Teachers never complained about my penmanship. Still in all my years of experience with it, roughly 1st through 5th grade, I could not stand it. To me it was slower, larger, and clunkier than my normal print style of writing.
    I also need to address this matter, because frankly it's insulting. Where in the world do people get off thinking younger generations like mine, the millennials, and beyond wouldn't be able to decipher simple stylized scripts? It's not a whole new language, it's just stylized. We're not so stupid that we could figure it out fancy looking letters.
    Now, I have a background in web design so I perfectly understand the beauty of a well crafted script handwriting. That said, Palmer isn't it. I wouldn't go as far to say Palmer is even calligraphy, it's a mean to help improve penmanship which eventually either falls out of one's regular writing style, devolves in shorthand, gibberish like a doctor's note, or in my case a bastardization of cursive and print handwriting.

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      I can't really add anything, well put.

  72. Anonymous
    August 19, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    As I was reading and got to point #4, all I did was read the heading and thought, "Cursive IS technology!!" and then bam, right there in your counterpoint, in bold, no less! Great article, great arguments, great great great! Despite having learned cursive in high school, in my adult years I have reverted to printing when I write, though I do sign my name in cursive, because there's nothing more satisfying then the scribble-scribble sound of signing one's name!

    • Justin Pot
      August 20, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      I feel bad about how horribly my signature is, but at this point if I change it I won't have a signature that matches other documents I've signed.

      • Guy McDowell
        August 20, 2015 at 10:40 pm

        Don't worry about that. Your mark is your mark. My signature has changed several times through my life. Most people's do. That's an interesting topic in itself. Check out how Napoleon Bonaparte's changed through his life.

        • Steve
          June 1, 2018 at 4:45 pm

          You will still be contacted by your bank, the DMV, Voter Registration to file a new official signature card. If you enjoy that sort of thing, no problem.